GALAPAGOS     The Flow of Wildness


1. Discovery

photographs by Eliot Porter

introduction by Loren Eiseley,

with selections from Herman Melville, Charles Darwin,

     J. R. Sleven, William Beebe, and others

edited by Kenneth Brower

foreword by David Brower



from the foreword . . .

. . . I believe that the earth man has already touched -- sometimes gently and sometimes brutally -- can sustain his advancing civilization if he applies his science, his technology, and his genius to the challenge of going back over what he has touched and ameliorating his mistakes. Hardly a tenth of that earth is still essentially uninterrupted by his technology. This is the wilderness, an increasingly rare thing that civilizations old patterns of growth can overrun swiftly, but to little avail. Man can tear the miracle of wilderness apart but he cannot reassemble it, and the vestige that too few people know about is all that men will ever have. It contains answers to questions man has not yet learned how to ask.

Man is prolific enough to explode across the land, but he can only do so at the expense of the organic diversity essential to the only world he can live upon. When beaver populations explode, the beaver overload their range, become neurotic, lose vitality, and starve. Mankind has a range, too, and it has a maximum carrying capacity consistent with a good life -- a life with enough resources on hand to serve a restrained population and to spare nations from a final quarrel over them.

Man needs an Earth National Park, to protect on this planet what he has not destroyed and what need not be destroyed. In this action, all the nations could unite against the one real common enemy -- Rampant Technology. Here might be rescued, for the improved men we should hope will be born in centuries and millennia to come, the natural places where answers can always be sought to questions man may one day be wise enough to ask. . . .


Executive Director, Sierra Club

London, July 21, 1968

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